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Andrew Billen interviews William Hague in the Times today about his career, and his nostalgia for the era of great parliamentarian William Wilberforce. Comparing Pitt the Younger and Wilberforce, the subjects of his biographies, he says:

"Pitt is the
ultimate career politician: Prime Minister at 24, dead at 46, having worked
and worried and drunk himself to death. Wilberforce, same age, enters
Parliament at the same time, great friend of Pitt, but becomes the ultimate
noncareer politician who exercises more influence than most prime ministers
while never actually holding office himself.”

 

On his own failings as a party leader:

“I’m
very interested in foreign affairs and some other areas of policy, but I
probably did not have the all-round interest that a party leader needs, and
not necessarily the patience to spend every day dealing with everybody’s
little complaint that the party leader needs to have. So I think I have
certain flaws. Those probably became apparent when I was a party leader! And
I’ve no intention of ever doing it again.”

On Cameron’s abilities as a party leader:

"It is clear after the last three
elections that I think what David Cameron is doing is right, that we have to
recapture the centre ground. And he’s set about it very energetically, very
effectively. […] He is very good. He is, all round, the most accomplished politician of all of
us who’ve led the party in recent times… I think since
Thatcher. But he’s also got real tenacity, which I think people have seen in
recent weeks. The media has had a big downer on him this summer, but that
hasn’t ruffled him. He has got the steel to come out the other side. I have
huge respect for the man, actually. And I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise."

24 comments for: Hague wishes he entered Parliament 200 years ago

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